Talkback: User Experience vs. Customer Experience

Heard on Twitter:

[box style=”white rounded”]

inarosen (@inarosen) – “UX er vigtig men blot en delmængde af kunders drømme om værdifulde services. #UX #CX #CustomerExperience

Jesper Wille (@jwcph) – “@inarosen næh, #cx & servicedesign er delmængder af #brugeroplevelse, som er andet & mere end user interface & usability. Uddyber gerne…”

inarosen (@inarosen) – “@jwcph Uddyb gerne! :)”


Well, that was in Danish… OK, quick translate: inarosen says that UX is a subset of CX (customer experience), to which I reply “nuh-uh”. I offer do elaborate, and I’m called out on that – and of course I do what I promise, which is why I now present a new thread in my article feed: The Talkback Section! It will remain to be seen how much I’ll need it but let’s just start by keeping my promise to inarosen…


So, let’s get elaborating on my 140-character refutal of that original tweet, and – by extension – of Kerry Bodine’s article on the relationship between CX and UX. In other words, what exactly do I mean by “nuh-uh”?

Well, in ms. Bodine’s article you’ll find this venn diagram:

This depiction of the aforementioned relationship was what made me react, because I believe it’s the other way around – i.e. that CX is a subset of UX.
There’s a specific reason for that, with regard to Kerry Bodine’s article, and a general reason – so let’s start with the first one; it has its roots in another misapprehension which I generally try to debunk as often as I can. Two birds and all that.

What Bodine says is that UX is “…the design and development of digital interactions” but that, quite simply, is not correct. What she’s describing here is interaction design, which is part of the field of Usability, another specific subset of UX.

User Experience is “…a person’s behaviors, attitudes and emotions about using a particular product, system or service”, which is the description you’ll find at Wikipedia, for now at least, and one that I agree with, as you may have already suspected. Obviously, this includes quite a bit more than simply digital interactions.

Further, ms. Bodine refers to CX as “… the interactions that take place as customers discover, evaluate, buy, access, use, get support, reengage, and leave” – clearly, she is talking about the purchase situation, plus a bit of subsequent interaction between the customer and the place of sale, if this applies, and I agree that, largely, this is what entails Customer Experience.

However, it should also be pretty obvious that it’s of quite a bit of importance to everyone involved – the customer, who should have a good experience with her product beyond simply finding and buying it, the place of sale which would very much like for their customers to come back again another time, and the manufacturer of the product, who is also interested in retention, loyalty and advocacy and such – which kind and quality of user experience the customer has for the entire lifetime/ownership of the product, sometimes even including disposal, rather than just the purchase situation.

User Experience entails our “behavior, attitudes & emotions” in relation to our things and services throughout their lifetime as seen from our perspective, which starts before we buy them and extends to (or beyond) disposal. Obviously, this means that the Customer Experience has to be a subset of it.

Or what do you think?